Ravi lauds Indian DiasporaSeptember 26th, 2011 - 6:14 pm ICT by IANS
The Hague, Sep 26 (IANS) A meet on Indian Diaspora here has ended after stressing the vital role of the Indian community in deepening cultural and economic relations between India and the Netherlands.
Vayalar Ravi, the minister of overseas Indian affairs who was the keynote speaker, lauded the role of the Indian Diaspora in the Netherlands in enhancing closer bilateral ties, reports EuAsia News.
“You are playing an important role not only in the social and cultural fields but also in influencing the political leadership,” he told the meeting.
Ravi estimated that over 27 million Indians or people of Indian origin were living around the globe.
“Whether we look at Europe, North American, Africa or South Asia, the Indian Diaspora is emerging as significant and important actors in the economic cultural and political scene,” he stressed.
The minister listed the facilities being provided by the Indian government to the Diaspora which includes issuing Overseas citizenship of India and the People of Indian Origin cards to make travel and stay in India easier.
He also mentioned the recent decision by the government to allow the overseas Indians who hold the Indian passport to vote in their constituencies in assembly elections.
In her welcome address, Bhaswati Mukherjee, ambassador of India to the Netherlands, spoke about the historical development of Dutch-Indian ties during the past 400 years and said people-to people contacts between the two countries were growing.
The theme of the one-day conference was “Indian Diaspora in Netherlands: Achievements, Contributions & Challenges.”
An estimated 200,000 Indians or people of Indian origin live in the Netherlands. In addition, there are about 180,000 Surinamese of Indian origin living in the Netherlands.
Jozias van Aartsen, Mayor of The Hague and former Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, said 50,000 Indians or people of Indian origin lived in the Hague and that there was growing interest in the Indian culture.
He announced that the Gandhi Centre will be inaugurated in the Hague Oct 2 and soon the city will also host an Indian film festival.
Bob Hiensch, the Dutch ambassador to India, noted that Dutch-Indian trade exchanges rose from 1.4 billion euro in 2001 to 5 billion euro in 2010.
He said that 119 Indian companies based in the Netherlands were playing an important role in developing bilateral economic nand trade cooperation. The Netherlands was the fifth largest investor in India.
Hiensch, however, urged the Indian Diaspora to work hard to change the public opinion about India in the Netherlands that remains focussed on the corruption scandals and social affairs in India.
About 200 representatives of the Indian Diaspora attended the conference held at the Word Forum.
It was rganized collectively by many Indian Diaspora Organizations based in The Netherlands under the umbrella organization “The Foundation for the Indian Diaspora in Europe”.
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